bills – who, what, where, when, how?

bills – who, what, where, when, how?


What bills and how much?

Students moving into their first house are often a little concerned about bills – how to set them up, how much will they cost?

Student Houses Cardiff offer an all inclusive option of £60 per person per month (for gas, electricity, water and broadband), or the option to organise the bills yourself.

Organising the Bills yourself

Organising your bills is really simple and means you stay in control of what you spend, what broadband/media packages you have – AND save money on all inclusive tariffs (where landlords and agents need to build in a margin for what you might use). Student Houses Cardiff help you set up all your bills and utilities, free of charge. Bills are shared between all the tenants and are on average £50 per person, per month for all water, gas, electricity, broadband and TV licence. (Our properties are well insulated with modern, efficient boilers which helps keep your bills down significantly.)

Paying your Bills

We suggest to tenants that the easiest way to manage bills is to set up a joint household bank account, in everyone’s names. Everyone pays in approximately £50 a month by standing order (you can do this termly in advance when you get your grant too). You can then give your utility suppliers the account details and pay them by direct debit from this account. The £50 a month should cover gas, electricity, water, broadband and TV licence. You usually get a discount for paying by direct debit too.

Gas, Electricity and Water

When you move into a Student Houses Cardiff property water, gas and electricity will all be connected. We contact the providers and give them your names and contact details and the metre readings that we take when you move in. You are liable for all bills from the start date of your tenancy agreement.

You will get billed every three months for gas and electricity and every six months for water if it is on a water meter. Monthly payment can be arranged if water is rated (a fixed annual charge).

You are welcome to change providers whenever you like (you can find some great deals), just let us know when you have.

To find out who currently supplies the gas and electricity contact the following (you’ll need to give them the property address and postcode):

  • For Electricity – Call South Wales Western Power Distribution 0845 601 5972 You may need to provide your electricity point administration number (MPAN), which you can usually find on a sticker attached to your electricity meter
  • For Gas – Call the M Number Enquiry Helpline on 0870 608 1524 be able to tell you the name of your property’s current gas supplier, as well as your meter point reference number (MPRN).
  • All Water is supplied by Welsh Water tel: 0800 052 0145

Internet

All our properties have broadband internet but it is generally turned off when the previous tenants vacate, so new tenants need to arrange a new account and have this activated. If you want this ready for when you move in, you should allow at least 2 weeks to arrange this, as the start of term is a busy time of year. During September Virgin Media and other providers go around student areas with flyers of the latest deals, so it can be best to wait until then.

Installation of satellite or cable

If you want to arrange a new installation of satellite or cable (including Virgin Media) this will be at your cost. Just request our permission by email first. We will need to supervise installation. You can save the connection charge by taking over the service on the same day the previous tenants vacate (the day before your tenancy starts). Contact us for the tenants’ details and you can make arrangements with them to transfer the connection to your name as from the start of your tenancy.

There are a variety of internet providers. One of the most popular with students is Virgin Media. For Virgin Media contact customer services to set up your account and reactivate Virgin Media services (broadband/tv/telephone) in the property.

Telephone

We leave it up to tenants to set up telephone connections. Therefore some of our houses will have connections and some won’t, depending on what the previous students set up. Most students using a landline will bundle it in with their broadband package. Please contact us to check with the previous tenants what services they had.

Any connection charges required by British Telecom or other suppliers must be paid by you. You can save the BT connection charge by taking over the telephone service on the same day the previous tenants vacate (in June before your tenancy starts). Contact us for the tenants’ details and you can make arrangements with them to transfer the connection to your name as from the start of your tenancy.

TV licence

A colour tv licence costs £145.50 per year (in 2016) . Most of our houses have a joint tenancy agreement (check with us to make sure). If there is a joint tenancy agreement for the whole house, you only need one licence. If you don’t have a licence between you, whoever is found watching tv (or streaming live tv) when an Enquiry Officer visits you is the one who risks a prosecution and a fine. If you have a separate tenancy agreement for your room, you need your own licence. More info especially for students.

Get money back at the end of the year – If you’re moving out of your house, and the TV you’ve paid for a licence for isn’t going to be used for at least three months, then you can claim the money back for that quarter.

Council Tax

You don’t have to pay it! – As students you are exempt from paying Council Tax – though try to avoid living with non-students or part-time students as they are not exempt, and it’s very unlikely that they would be willing to pay the entire council tax bill on their own, if they could even afford to. If you are all students we inform the Council that you are students and therefore not liable to Council Tax.

Unsure if you’re classed as a student? – You are considered a student for Council Tax purposes if:

  • you are enrolled to attend a course of education lasting for at least one academic or calendar year – and which you are normally required to attend for at least 24 weeks out of the year and study for at least 21 hours per week during term time. OR,
  • you’re under 20 and your course leads to a qualification up to (but not above) A level standard or equivalent – as long as it lasts for more than three months and involves more than 12 hours of study per week.

Check with the council – If you’re still not sure whether you should be exempt from Council Tax contact Cardiff Council on 029 2087 2087 or Newport Council on 01633 656 656.

Money Saving Tips

Change of utility supplier
You can save up to £500 a year by choosing the cheapest gas/electricity supplier when you move in, rather than just sticking with who the previous tenants used. We recommend the following website to compare prices Cheap Energy Club.  You should take over the existing supply first and then switch to the new supplier. Please make sure that if you change your utility supplier you inform us.

Energy Saving Tip
It is worth investing in energy saving lightbulbs. Energy saving light bulbs last up to 12 times longer than ordinary lightbulbs and each bulb can save you £9 per year in electricity or £100 over the bulbs lifetime. If each house installed three energy saving bulbs, it would save enough energy to run the country’s street lights for a year.